S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT at the Ramsey House

Growing Up Austin Parenting

The Bay City Rollers may think they know how to do a Saturday night, but this is my version at the Ramsey house.

7:51pm Saturday night – Sparkles and Buttercup are snuggled in their beds and Blue Eyes and I are about to say goodnight when Sparkles says her ear hurts. I am not a brand-new Mom and I know that Sparkles discovers an unusually high number of physical ailments right around bed time. I tell her what I always tell her for a bedtime ailment, “The best thing you can do is get some rest for your body.” It’s not that I ignore her complaint all together, I just wait to see if she brings it up again. Blue Eyes and I sit down on the couch to watch a Netflix movie.

8:51 – Sparkles brings it up again by crying “Mommy!!!!!! Daddy!!!!!”. Yes, her ear hurts. Given our last experience with an ear infection that started after the doctor’s office was closed, when she cried throughout the night, I told Blue Eyes that Sparkles and I would sleep in our bed and I asked him to sleep in the guest room. I give up on the movie and go to bed with Sparkles. She is comforted by my arms around her and she falls  asleep peacefully.

12:42am – Sparkles is sleeping well, but she is tossing and turning and kicking me and kicking me and kicking me. I noticed that, in my half-asleep state, I had started to stiff-arm her, like a football player, keeping one arm out long, to try to keep some distance. But it wasn’t working.

1:15 – The ear pain wasn’t waking her up and my body was suffering greatly, so I carried Sparkles upstairs to her bed.

4:35 – “Mommy!!!!” calls out from the baby monitor. I head upstairs. Sparkles woke up, not because her ear hurt, but because her pull-up leaked and wet the bed. I had accidentally bought the day-time pull-ups when Sparkles needs the night-time pull-ups and at this moment this seemed like a Very Big Shopping Mistake. I get Sparkles cleaned up and in new pajamas. We are two seconds from being done when I hear, “Mommy!!!” from Buttercup, in the other bed in the same room.

Buttercup sees that something is going on and she isn’t about to just go right back to sleep. I’m at great risk for having two completely awake toddlers at 4:35 in the morning. I have to think quick. I set Sparkles down on Buttercup’s bed and tell her I’ll be back. I pick up Buttercup and bring her downstairs to cuddle with Blue Eyes in the guest room, so she will fall back asleep. On the way to the stairs I step on something wet and I ignore it. I wake up Blue Eyes and say, “It’s a long story, can you take her?” and he does.

I head back upstairs to get Sparkles. I have a dream-like memory of stepping on something wet and I try to imagine how Sparkles’ leaky pull-up could have gotten the carpet wet by the top of the stairs.

No, that isn’t it. Oh, #$%#$%. I know what it is.

In another recent Very Big Shopping Mistake, I did an impromptu grocery shopping trip earlier that day without having my list that clearly identified cat litter as a critical item. Our cat had been protesting the messy box by not using it. How often does a house have two separate pee accidents at 4:35 in the morning? I get a towel from the bathroom and cover the spot. I’ll clean it in the morning. I don’t have the energy to change Sparkles’ sheets, so I bring her downstairs to my bed.

6:11 On most mornings, Sparkles wakes up at 7am and sometimes later, but on this morning when we both had trouble sleeping during the night, she wakes up at 6:11. We sneak into the living room without turning on lights and being super quiet, so we don’t wake up Buttercup or Blue Eyes. We pull the big easy chair in front of the TV and put on the Wizard of Oz DVD. We snuggle under a blanket and talk about the movie and her favorite parts and what Dorthy is going to do next. Well, this last part really was pretty sweet.

I felt pretty hung over on Sunday, kind of like I felt when I was younger after a late night of drinking. Now I have different reasons for staying up all night. My new reasons may not seem like as much fun, but that early morning snuggle under the blanket and the conversation about the Wizard of Oz, that is my favorite cocktail of all.





Cold Apple Pie in a Puddle of Melted Ice Cream

Growing Up Austin“No, I Can Not Eat My Apple Pie!” I said, loud and mad.

Blue Eyes, the girls and I were in Houston for Christmas with my side of the family, a week early. We had opened presents and Sparkles and Buttercup were playing with their cousins and their new toys.

Remember the Green-Yellow-Red parent warning system I wrote about a while back? I think this type of day starts off on Orange. There is so much energy and excitement that can feel like JOOOOYYYYYYYY, but by the end of the day, JOOOOYYYYYYYY feels pretty close to exhaustion and panic, doesn’t it?

A bit before I got loud and mad, I had this conversation with my sister-in-law:

“Have you been listening to them? We are on the edge of disaster. When are you going to leave?!!”, I said.

A parent’s intuition tracks the intensity and frequency of what might seem like normal interactions that mark the progression from Orange into Red. At first the four-girl-cousins, age-five-and-under argued only now and then, every 45 minutes or so, and they could solve the problem on their own. But, then it was every thirty minutes, then every fifteen and they couldn’t solve the problem on their own anymore. Each argument was more intense and impossible than the last and each needed more skilled negotiations managed by me and my sister-in-law.

“Are you kicking us out?!?”, my sister-in-law said.

“Yes.” I said.

“I understand. But, the apple pie, it is still in the oven,” she said.

Oh, my. Do you know how my Mom bakes her apple pie? She gets her homemade apple pie all ready to bake, then puts it in the oven as we sit down to dinner. Then, after our dinner has settled some and we are ready for dessert, it is hot and fresh, just out of the oven. And, she puts a scoop of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream on the side.

No one can leave this house. Not until they have eaten that apple pie.

“OK, I understand,” I said.

We know to be on alert. We stay close, but not too close. We listen. They are fighting every five minutes now.  We are very close to Red.

We might make it. The pie is out of the oven. It has cooled a few minutes. The pieces on are on the plates. The ice cream is on the side. Blue Eyes and I add a little Bailey’s over ice to make the experience complete.  I can smell the pie. I can taste it. I’m about to sit down…

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” or some such scream comes from the room where the girls are playing. They must all be screaming at the same time. The arguments are officially now 0 minutes apart and we are deep into the Red. I scream, “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” and Blue Eyes says “Why don’t you eat your apple pie?” and I say, loud and mad, “No, I Can Not Eat My Apple Pie!”

The holidays can be full of joy and stress, they are related somehow, for parents and kids.

When the cousins went home and my girls were in bed, I heated up my apple pie, got a new scoop of unmelted ice cream and a new glass of Bailey’s over unmelted ice. Yummmm. It was a sweet end to a sweet day, even if there was a disaster or two in the mix.

(Update: I updated this to clean up the writing some. This is a bad blogging etiquette, I imagine, but I did it anyway.)

It’s Better When I Can Find the Puddle

Growing Up Austin

Blue Eyes, Sparkles, Buttercup and I headed for dinner to the Urban – An American Grill, because Heidi at Free Fun in Austin recommended it. I didn’t know the restaurant was in the Westin hotel at the Domain. This isn’t my usual neighborhood and everything seemed a bit grown-up and fancy for a family night out with two toddlers who don’t like to sit still. I told the hostess right up front that they seemed a little fancy for my family with kids, but she said they they love kids, so we sat down to dinner.

They had crayons, coloring paper and a kid’s menu. But, you don’t know for sure if a place really likes kids until someone pees in their panties. Which Buttercup did.

The only trouble is, I couldn’t find the puddle. Does that happen to you sometimes? Depending on the clothes and the shoes and the body’s position at the time of the peeing, it is possible to pee in your panties without peeing on the floor. It is also possible to leave a puddle that is hard to see in a dark restaurant, especially when your kid spent some time under the booth’s table.

I told our waitress that there was likely pee in the area, but I couldn’t find where. It didn’t phase her and she was gracious.  She brought us a towel (well, it was more of a bath mat, but the same idea) in case we needed it and said we could keep it, in case we could use it for the car seat on the way home.

Do you know now some restaurants say they are kid friendly but they don’t FEEL kid friendly, especially when something unexpected and loud/embarrassing/messy happens? Urban – An American Grill FELT kid friendly, even when it wasn’t easy to be.

Besides that, the Shrimp Pomodoro was super yummy and the burger was the opposite-of-fast-food, a-chef-made-this-burger, calorie-worthy kind. It was more expensive than our usual dinner out, but the food was worth the price. It is good to know a place that has grown-up food that welcomes the kids too. You can check out their menu here.

Thanks for the tip, Free Fun in Austin. Thanks for the towel, Urban-An American Grill. We’ll be back.

(No, this isn’t a sponsored post, it is just what I was thinking about today.)